Tuesday, February 17, 2009

I Love Getting a Bargain.

I learned recently in my MBA Marketing class that I am what marketeers affectionately refer to as a "laggard".

A "Laggard" is quite possibly the worst type of consumer for the following reasons:
  • We aren't easily parted with our money. I buy what I need and products I believe in - not what is in style, or new, or what everybody else has.

  • I am fairly brand specific- when I find something I like, I am not easily persuaded to switch brands.

  • New technology is interesting, but I cannot help but view it with a little skepticism: I certainly would not want to invest in something that isn't proven or that will soon be replaced by something more advanced.

  • I usually wear something out before I give in and replace it. (Cell phone, slippers, favorite sweater)

  • I love getting a bargain.

This is not to say that I never spend money. I rarely buy objects impulsively, though, unless I know that it is a deal that I cannot pass up. I am more apt to spend on experiences (trips, shows, fine dining). I am also more likely to spend a little extra on what I perceive to be quality.

I have two great "bargain" experiences to share with you and two frugal pointers.

The first great experience was my most recent. I was in William Sonoma on Sunday browsing through all that cooking stuff, (Lord knows I love browsing thru cooking stuff!). On my way out the door (empty- handed) I spied a 15 inch Le Creuset cast iron skillet in red - a perfect match to the small but growing Le Creuset collection I have at home.

I had just picked up the Cast Iron cookbook (using an instant recognition award from work), and so the need for a cast iron skillet was on my brain. I assumed that I would just find a well-seasoned one at a local thrift shop, but once the Le Creuset one caught my eye, well, I knew that I needed that one. William Sonoma Price tag: $179.00. Hmm, tempting, but I just could not justify that.

When I got home I decided to try eBay and found the same skillet at $20 with 2 hours left before closing. Simon and I talked and determined that $80 would be a reasonable top bid. I watched the price rise to $42 and at the last minute I put in my top bid. I ended up buying the pan for $62.00. (SCORE!) My other great experience was that I was out yard sale hopping a few years ago and I picked up a tattered old cookbook called "ice creams and cakes". My thought was that this would be an interesting addition to my cookbook collection- I had thumbed through the text and found a couple of enticing old cake recipes....cool.

About a year later I was surfing and found copies of this cookbook on an antique book website for sale: $140-$450. My purchase price: 25 cents. (AMAZING!)

Two quick frugal tips for finding bargains:

  • Never pay full price for books. I always note the author and title when I find a book I like. Amazon.com, eBay and Half.com are excellent on line sources for just about any book you could ever want. Don't be afraid to buy used from sellers that have high ratings. Check out your local thrift shop and yard sales too!

  • Shop purposefully. I usually have a few specific items that I am looking for at any given time. When I shop the local thrift shops I make it a point to look for these items. It took a few trips but I eventually found my salad spinner (25 cents) and a really cool metal collander (new, Le Creuset, red for $2.99).
Have you found any great bargains lately? Do you have any frugal shopping tips? Please share!


Carol............. said...

"Laggard"? Works for me and sounds like me!

Cara mia said...

I do have an ebay tip for you - it's called Hammersnipe. Google it, or just add ".com" and you'll find it.